TGIF Parents! It is the weekend, and we are looking at family-friendly ways to ensure that our children understand the importance of Internet safety. On Tuesday 9th, February, Safer Internet Day was celebrated; this is organized each year to promote the safer and responsible use of digital technology especially for children and young people.
We should also encourage this awareness in the family as parents. We should ensure to have conversations with our children over internet safety and guide their digital footprint. Here are five ways parents can start a conversation on internet safety with their children this weekend.
Talk about Internet Safety
The first thing to do as a parent is to have a conversation with your children about the importance of safety online; this is just to raise awareness and to help them understand why you are talking about it. And the reason behind this is to show that you are not coming from a place of judgment or mistrust, but you’re coming from a place of equipping them with what they need to know to be responsible digital citizens.
Ask them What are they sharing online
Secondly, you want to talk about what they are sharing online; teach them to always think about what they’re sharing online before they do so. Is it something they should be sharing? Being on social media, for example, is all about putting your life and your thoughts out there; but you need to be sure that your children understand that whatever they share online will stay online forever. It is painting their digital footprint.
So they need to be clear that what they share must be things that they have thought about, and they have thought through. So teach them to pause and to think, what am I really sharing.
Ask them Why are they sharing
Another important thing to ask is why are they sharing. Are they sharing to uplift somebody; to share their opinions. Are they sharing just to get likes, are they sharing it for, vanity metrics. We need to teach them to understand that whatever you do, you must do it with the right intention so it is not posting for the wrong reason; children need to understand this from very early on. Asking this question will prompt them to make better choices when they are online.
Let them know it is not everything they see online they need to participate in. If somebody is being rude online sharing very polarizing information, your children don’t have any business getting into this conversation.
Ask them Who they are sharing with
Another important conversation is to make your children aware of who they are sharing with; because it’s really important they realize that when they’re sharing things online, there are billions of users on the internet. So who are they sharing things with? somethings are meant to be for a close network of friends. They need to realize that anything you share online means that anybody anywhere can access it once it’s in the public domain.
Ask them, “who’s your audience?”, “who’s following you?”, “who see the posts that you put out there?”, and “who is seeing the things that you comment on?”. Read: Nigerian Youths and their Scary Use of Social Media
Ask them How does what they share affect themselves and others
Lastly on how we can ensure our children understand the importance of internet safety; a parent should conversations with their children about how what they share affects themselves and the people out there. If you realize that your child is big on using filters for example, on every photograph that they put out there; to distort how they look, making them look, cuter, nicer, or better skin; parents need to watch it, because that could be a child that ends up having body image issues. So we want to make sure that we are talking about how it affects the children and people out there.
To ensure that we are raising successful digital citizens, make sure you subscribe to our parenting nuggets; where on a daily basis you get short videos that take you through the process of raising your children to be successful digital citizens. These videos that you get are from Yetty Williams, the parenting coach and founder of Lagosmums talk a lot about raising children to be successful adults in today’s world, so click HERE to subscribe.
Read Also [12 Online Safety Tips Every Child Needs to Know]